The Fight for Mosul


In the past year, Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) has been steadily pushed into northern Iraq. The network has attempted to regroup in certain areas, particularly around the city of Mosul. Mosul has long been an important hub for the Sunni insurgency and Coalition commanders have identified it as a strategic center of gravity for AQI – an area of interest that if lost would make AQI’s survival very difficult. Though AQI cells remain in central Iraq, the principal fight against the network is now taking place in the north – in Mosul, in western Ninawa province, and further south in the Za’ab triangle. This backgrounder focuses on the fight for Mosul. It begins by providing historical context and then proceeds to detail the history of Mosul from the beginning of the Iraq War to early 2008. The enemy system in the area is then explained and the paper ends by elaborating on the likely strategy for clearing and securing the city.